Museum in Crown Heights, Brooklyn evacuated Thursday
By Mary Frost
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The Jewish Children’s Museum in Crown Heights was evacuated at 9:30 a.m. Thursday morning after the organization received an email saying several pipe bombs had been hidden in the building.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in Brooklyn on Thursday for another announcement, rushed to the scene to meet with museum founder Devorah Halberstam, Jewish leaders and law enforcement officials. He called the threat “repugnant to the concept of the state of New York.”
“I want to warn the people who are behind these, when we find you, and we will find you, you will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. That I can promise you,” Cuomo said in a videotaped news conference. “In the meantime, I call on all New Yorkers to double our efforts of unity and tolerance.”
Halberstam said, “I think there’s nothing left for me to say other than yes, it is repugnant. It’s a horrible thing that happened to us today. But we remain strong. We will be open for business as soon as they do a clean sweep of the museum. We want all the children to not only come, to continue coming every day.”
New York City Councilmember Laurie Cumbo, who represents the area, said in a statement, “A threat against one is a threat against us all; and acts of hate or violence will not be tolerated in our community.”
After numerous bomb threats against Jewish institutions following the election of President Donald Trump, Cuomo put together a special unit of the New York State Police to track down the perpetrators.
“We’re going to provide funding for security and cameras for cultural centers, schools that might be subject to an attack,” he said.
Jewish institutions, including community centers and Anti-Defamation League offices, have been hit with more than 100 bomb threats so far this year, all of them hoaxes, according to Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
On March 1, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer called on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to grant a special waiver to Jewish Community Centers and other organizations that have been targeted by anonymous, phoned-in threats.
The waiver would allow targeted JCCs to access the caller ID information that would allow them to identify and locate the perpetrators.
That wouldn’t have worked in Thursday’s incident, which involved email.
Halberstam founded the museum after her 16-year-old son, Ari, was fatally shot on the Brooklyn Bridge on March 1, 1994.